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Federal Judge Sets Trial Date for Jackson Women's Health Organization Lawsuit Against Miss. Law

Federal Judge Sets Trial Date for Jackson Women's Health Organization Lawsuit Against Miss. Law

August 19, 2013 — A federal judge on Friday set a date next spring for jury selection in a lawsuit filed by Mississippi's sole abortion clinic to challenge a state law (HB 1390) that it says will cause its closure, the AP/Huffington Post reports (Wagster Pettus, AP/Huffington Post, 8/16).

In a lawsuit filed last year, the Jackson Women's Health Organization argued that the law, which requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, is unconstitutional and a thinly disguised attempt to shut down the state's only abortion provider. Last July, U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan ruled that the clinic should try to comply with the law as long as it was allowed to remain open.

In April, Jordan issued a temporary order blocking the state from imposing penalties while the judge considers the constitutionality of the law. The clinic had missed a Jan. 11 deadline to comply with the law after hospitals in the area rejected its applications for admitting privileges. In March, the clinic received notice of an April 18 license revocation hearing before the state Department of Health (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/16).

On Friday, Jordan published an order in federal court records that set March 3 as the beginning of jury selection (AP/Huffington Post, 8/16).

Abortion-Rights Supporters Rally Outside Clinic

More than 100 abortion-rights supporters gathered Saturday outside the clinic, the AP/Hattiesburg American reports.

Sunsara Taylor of StopPatriarchy.org -- which organized a 15-state, one-month "Abortion Rights Freedom Ride" -- said, "Abortion rights across the country are in a state of emergency." She added, "[w]e've been going to the states with only one clinic left in them, states where restrictions have been passed, states where abortion providers have been murdered."

Another protester, Laurie Roberts, said, "I already hear those stories of women trying to abort on their own and that's where we're at in Mississippi." She added, "[w]here women already can't access a clinic and with no clinic it'll only get worse" (AP/Hattiesburg American, 8/18).